While backing the global HFC phase-down under the Montreal Protocol, minister for the environment Greg Hunt has promised to fast-track work to reduce domestic HFC emissions by 85% by 2036. A reduction in the emissions of HFCs is described as an important part of Australia’s commitment.
An options paper has been prepared to seek further input from interested businesses, groups and individuals on the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Programme Review. It was developed after receiving public submissions, as well as consultation with an industry representative technical working group, individual stakeholders, and Commonwealth agencies.
The paper provides four preliminary options packages, ranging from minimum reform to meet the objectives of the review to high level reform to achieve maximum emission reduction, efficiency and effectiveness gains.
The Australian government says that industry consultation indicates a strong preference for a regulated HFC phase-down as it provides long term certainty and is technically and commercially viable. Industry’s preference, it says, is for a global phase-down under the Montreal Protocol but there is support for action in Australia ahead of a global agreement.
With no domestic refrigerant production, the government is keen to set the phase-down timing and level of reduction steps at a pace that is consistent with the rate of equipment change. The intent is that there will be sufficient HFCs available to meet the servicing requirements for existing equipment, and that scarcity does not force premature equipment retirement.
This approach is said to be consistent with Australia’s HCFC phase-out which commenced in 1996 and where sufficient HCFCs have been available to service equipment.
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